And the Show Goes To…
Once it hit 2 pm, I punched in my time card and went out of the office, heading for the Neil Gaiman book signing yesterday at the Rockwell Tent.
The Gaiman book signing was probably just as crowded as the Good Charlotte experience I had earlier. The only difference is that in the latter, I was part of the production. With the former, I was pretty much like everybody else, stuck in cramp quarters.
The crowd was really overwhelming. I saw familiar faces everywhere, whether it be batchmates from college, old friends, acquaintances who want to avoid me, work-related acquaintances, friends of friends, and friends in general. And perhaps it’s for them that I write this entry. Because I was a mere spectator, while they were the ones who actively participated in the event.
One story I heard was that some people were planning to camp out on Friday evening. However, when they went there, they saw no one and decided against it.
One of my friends got stub numbers less than twenty. They achieved that because they lined up as early as 7 am in the morning. For the record, they didn’t sleep. Their Legend of the Five Rings RPG game had finished at 5 am that day (and a game I had to miss because of the concert) and they went to Rockwell shortly afterwards.
Friends who were texting me at 9 am managed to get stubs, although it was probably in the three-digit range. By the time I got there at 2:30, there was a long line (but not the longest I’ve seen), but no stubs to be distributed.
Filipinos are Always Late
As expected, the event didn’t start on time. Or rather, Neil didn’t show up on time (not that it was his fault of anything, lest I get chided by Gaiman fans). A band was performing as part of the program. Unfortunately, they were facing hordes of Gaiman fans eager to meet their “god”. Honestly, mentioning “And our next song is…” was not the brightest thing to do as they got boo’s, hisses, and curses. And when hundreds of people are cramped in a small tent without air conditioning, people’s patience tend to be short.
Thankfully Neil managed to show up at the event before sunset. He mentions having printer woes, as he couldn’t print out passages from his upcoming novel, Anansi Boys. (My friend, working as a call center agent, was tempted to shout “turn off your spooling!” when he heard the symptoms of Gaiman’s printer problem.) I’m sure he was exhausted and feeling the heat by the time he reached the tent but Gaiman was calm and polite the entire time. Hundreds of fans even squealed when he took off his jacket.
When I heard the Coraline audio CD earlier this week, I immediately knew that Gaiman had a talent for making voices (well, it’s better than my monotone, sinus-stricken voice). When Neil started reading excerpts from his upcoming novel, it was even better. The crowd was laughing, and apparently, so did I. Honestly though, I wouldn’t be laughing at some parts if I were reading it. It’s the way Gaiman handles character, of how he knows who the character is and how they’re supposed to sound like and manages to act it out, that makes it funny (which is his intent, of course). The moral lesson? Neil should do more audio books. Seriously.
While I’m a fan of Gaiman (but I stress that I’m not THAT much of a fan), I was caught up with the crowd when he entered and started speaking. I guess this is what mob mentality feels like. Your brain stops functioning and you give in to the emotions of everyone else, even if they’re not necessarily your own.
Neil cracks some jokes to quell the crowd. We all laugh. Normally, I wouldn’t find some of them particularly witty. But we laugh anyway, because it’s coming from Neil. Which is, of course, a stark contrast to Fully Booked’s (I honestly don’t’ know how to spell that right) emcee, which I’m sure many fans wanted to strangle. I’m sure the company I was with did (although I don’t necessarily share their opinion, of course). Neil probably put it best when he took the mike and said “It would probably be best if it came from me.” And then Neil added some policies with regards to the book signing.
At least that’s what his fans feel what Gaiman is. Aside from the screaming and all the ogling, I’ve seen more drama that day than in the soaps I’ve seen on TV. One of my friends was crying (tears of joy, mind you) when she finally got to having Neil sign her book. Gaiman gave her a hug and one of the first things she did was call us up and squeal of how it was the happiest day of her life.
And just by browsing through the other blog entries of friends and acquaintances, she’s the only one. Some could already die happy just by touching him, or having their cheeks touch his, or getting the same kind of hug.
Personally though, I’m the commitment kind of guy. While I would appreciate a kiss from my crush, for example, I’d be happier knowing that we’d see each other again. The event was great. Seeing Gaiman (alas, I did not really get to “meet” him) was indeed memorable. But honestly, the more memorable moments in my life are those where I forge friendships and long-term relationships with people, irregardless if they’re celebrities or not.
While me and my friends left Gaiman’s book signing at 6 pm, I didn’t get home until 6 am the next day. By then, I had gulped down 1500 ml of soya milk (courtesy of Fruit Magic), and badly needing sleep. I was originally planning to scout today’s event at the Promenade, but weariness prevented me from doing that.
As for the 12-hour differential in me leaving Rockwell and me actually getting home, me and my friends were up for our regular game of D&D.
A part of me wanted to stay at the book signing, not because Neil was there, but because some of my friends from the cosplaying community were there. I wanted to be with them (hey, they’re all pretty girls after all) but I have commitments with my other friends. But at least I got to see them and found out that they’re doing well (or as I put it, still alive).